Breaking the Pattern

Growing up one of 17 children in rural Kentucky, “Randy” was no stranger to hard work. Most of his days were spent helping out on his family’s tobacco farm. After graduating from high school, Randy decided he wanted to help more than just his family, he wanted to help out his country. So he joined the U.S. Air Force. 

But after a chronic health issue began keeping Randy from performing his service, he was honorably discharged. After that decision, Randy was lost; he didn’t know what his future held. He and his wife left Kentucky for Indianapolis, where he accepted part-time jobs as a security guard and bussing tables at downtown restaurants. But Randy still struggled with the new changes in his life and began self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

It wasn’t long before his substance abuse began affecting his work and Randy was out of a job. And as his addiction grew and financial issues mounted, Randy lost everything –  his wife, his family and, eventually, his freedom when he was sent to prison.

Prison was an eye-opening experience for Randy. After his release, he knew he had to get back on the right track. He found employment working on a tobacco farm, but again, a health issue derailed his plans when his foot was severely broken by a wagon. Again, he was out of a job. And to make matters worse, his then-girlfriend was sent to prison less than a year after giving birth to their daughter.

Now an unemployed single father, the pressures of life became too much for Randy, and he turned to substance abuse once again. And this time hit the hardest, because this time he lost custody of his daughter.

Losing his daughter changed the trajectory of Randy’s future. He started seeing a pattern. Continuously, he would turn to drugs and alcohol to help him deal with a problem. And continuously, he would end up with more problems than before. He sought treatment for his addiction, and because of his physical disability from the farming accident, he was referred to Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, a United Way-supported agency. 

Goodwill provided Randy with disability services and he enrolled him in their Janitorial Training Program (JTP). Through the program, he began working as a hospital janitor, where he eventually became a team leader and was offered a full-time position.

But Randy chose not to take that position. After all Goodwill had done for Randy and the support system it provided him, he knew where he wanted to give his time and talent. Today, Randy is working in Goodwill’s commercial services, where he spends part of his day performing his duties at Goodwill’s University Heights Excel Center and part of his day training others in the JTP program.

His career path is not the only success that Randy has seen since he joined the Goodwill community. By using Goodwill’s resources to the fullest and proving that he could provide a stable home, he finally won back custody of his daughter!

Because of United Way, Goodwill of Central Indiana and you, Randy has stable employment, a home and is able to provide a safe and happy environment to raise his daughter. His future is brighter than ever before. 

NOTE: United Way works to improve the lives of all Central Indiana residents by focusing our work in four key areas – Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs. Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Inc. is a United Way-funded agency addressing one or more of these priorities by providing employment for people whose options have been limited by disability, a criminal history, low education level or other significant barrier.